My takes from Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers was a great book that looks into the history of “superstars”. Malcolm Gladwell dived deep into the stories of different geniuses or superstars. The book was hard to drop when started to read, the author’s use of language and the examples were just kept me reading.

Depending on their mindset one can find this book motivating or demotivating at the same time. When I first started to read, I thought “OK, I don’t have these conditions. Will I ever be successful?” then I continued to read and I convinced myself that I can change some of the conditions and become more successful in the end.

The biggest lesson I took away from the book is that: No success happens alone!

Success requires

  • hard working
  • some sort of support (legacy, sponsor etc.)
  • some luck

Of course, this is highly dependent on your definition of success. If you consider living a happy life with a full stomach and a roof above your head. Then maybe only one point from the above list can fulfil your success definition. But the book talks about the outliers, like Bill Gates or some hockey superstars etc.

The book itself tells the story of success in two parts opportunity and legacy.

The opportunity starts with what I would call the “luck factor”. The best hockey players in Canada share the same birthdate pattern, the best computer wizards were the ones who had access to a computer in 60s, the best legal advisors were born in the same era etc. So the first part of the opportunity is luck.

After luck, the hard work comes into effect. Well known “10,000 hours rule” is also described in the book. But usually, persons with less luck are not able to have the opportunity to study some topic for this many hours. A person should have the luck (or the opportunity), then they should recognise and grab the opportunity to become successful.

Unfortunately, life is not always fair and easygoing for everyone. We see a contradictive example in the book also, a man who has a great talent and is also willing to work hard loses the opportunity. This was because of the geographic conditions they had at the time and even if they contacted people who may sponsor them. All the prospective sponsors rejected him.

A famous successful example, Bill Gates had all three at the same time. His school had a time-sharing computer where they were able to book some time and learn to program, then his mother was able to sponsor this hobby due to her job at that time, finally, Gates was very interested in the topic and worked really hard. So when the time came, he already had 10,000 hours of work completed and was ready to grab the opportunity.

The legacy part is more about the non-financial legacy. E.g. there is a higher chance of a child with educated parents getting higher education compared to a child with non-educated parents. Similar to this, immigrant people of America had parents who are really good at trading or production. As they grow in families with this tradition (or legacy) their vision is improved. They became able to identify gaps in the market, which they filled.

Some of the legacies is also coming from the culture of the country that a person is raised in. For example, Japanese (if I recall correctly) children are more successful in math compared to other children. Because their language makes it simpler to do calculations, they say two ten six, instead of twenty-six. And this changes the way of thinking which leads to a more successful math career.

On the other, some cultures have great respect for superiors and this might block success even lead to failures. e.g. a first officer in a cockpit may not say the captain’s error due to respect and this may cause an accident even a fatal one.

All in all, what I see is success is not caused by a single item. It’s a combination of hard work, luck, changing the mindset from limiting cultures to more open ones.

Thanks for reading so far! If you read the book also I am curious to hear your opinions.

Title Inflation in Tech

Employee churn in tech is a big problem I observe during my career. I believe it was a problem far before I even started working and it will be a problem for the upcoming years. Side note: I choose “churn” over “attrition” as I feel it fits better regarding resources [1] [2].

With the effects of the global pandemic, churn slowed down for a period. When employees did not feel safe to move on, they decided to stay in the safe harbour. Also companies, due to lack of clear vision, decided to stop or slow down hiring. The new setup caused burnouts, physical and psychological stress to employees more than ever. And since summer 2021 the inevitable arrived. Some name it as Great Resignation [3] or Great Reshuffle [4] [5].

Those circumstances drive the situation something I would like to call “title inflation”. Of course, this term was not coined by me. [6]

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Title Diversity in Tech

There is no standard career path in tech. Job titles, expectations, salary levels, required experience levels and responsibilities vary hugely between companies. You can see a comparison of FAANG job titles in [7].

Promotion Decisions

I can count three different decision methods for promoting an employee. I will not discuss which method is correct or wrong here as this post does not aim to explain promotions in general. But let me briefly explain the methods I have observed and dive deep into the last one.

Butt Time [8] promotion, this promotion is solely based on years of experience (YoE). It reminds me of the promotion in an army. During my career, in some companies, I saw this method as the only method of promotion. E.g. after graduation one is a junior engineer, two years in the job they become an engineer, after two more years they jump to senior and so on. And for some companies, I saw this in the first steps. For instance, you start as a junior after two years you become an engineer and further promotions will be competence-based.

Competence-based promotion, in this model, companies have “somewhat” clear guidelines for each role level. E.g. a senior engineer should be able to lead a project across multiple teams etc. In theory, this method seems perfect, only the ones who deserve the next step is able to make the jump. But in practice there are gaps. How do you monitor an “ability to lead” for instance? How do you prove that? Some companies have methods like 360 evaluation, some companies put this burden on the engineering managers they prepare a case and ask for approval, some companies require engineers to apply for promotion then a committee evaluates. Still, I believe this is the best method even though the practical difficulties.

Marketing-based promotion, this model is the most elective one for the technically best engineers I saw. Most of the good engineers I met are humble, do not brag or show off. Unfortunately in this promotion model, the ones who show off get the next level. Even if they only achieve smaller things than the others. They have two great skills, business acumen and marketing which leads them to promote themselves in and out of the company finally letting them get to the next level. This can be mixed up with the competency-based model, but the difference in my opinion is the output produced by the engineer.

Promotion as a solution to churn

As Great Reshuffle hits the shores of tech companies, they aim to keep the talent in the company as much as they can. Because hiring is too expensive. Hiring means engineering time spent in the interviews, opportunity cost due to lost productivity etc.

Companies started to increase the salaries and benefits of tech employees, but hey they can not give XX,XXX€ salary to a senior engineer, that bar is too high for this level. Then they decided to give out promotions Senior Engineers are becoming leads, architects or principals. So the company can match the monetary expectations.

And this resulted in what I meant with “title inflation”. In some interviews or in some companies we see Senior Engineers who can not draw a solution, Principal Engineers who can not design a system or leads who can not communicate with their team.

Also, we see this method as a way to speed up talent acquisition lately. Due to the Great Reshuffle, some companies just throw in title and compensation packages [9] to convince candidates.


On one hand, I don’t want to lose any colleagues due to the fact they want more money. On the other hand, I don’t find it correct to promote incapable engineers to the next step until they collect the necessary experience.

This brings me to a solution offering, which is raising the salary bands for the existing roles. This solution highly depends on my belief that most engineers do not really care about titles. As I said titles vary hugely in different companies so being a Senior in Company A or being a Principal in Company B may not have any difference as long as they earn the same.

In contrast, I can understand the employer. When it comes to “competitive salary levels” the sky is the limit and there is a border where the value provided by an engineer becomes less than their cost. So they can not keep raising the bands.

I really wonder what will the future bring in sense of titles and their expectations? What do you think?



Personal 2021 Summary and 2022 Expectations

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I usually have a master plan for the upcoming year and visit my status from time to time to review my goals. Unfortunately, 2019 and 2020 were not planned at all. I had to start my life in a new country with a new job in a different domain than my expertise. So I was not able to decide on any goals.


There are different camps while setting goals. I know about the SMART and OKR, and I believe on a personal level setting SMART goals are sustainable and the OKR method is more suitable for groups or organizations.

Let’s shortly recap what SMART means,

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

My goals for 2021 and 2022 perfectly fit into the SMART framework, as they are clearly described, they have a numeric target to measure, they are not impossible, they are relevant to the categories I will mention shortly, and they have a deadline of 31st of December.

2021 Status

Around the end of the first quarter of 2021, I revisited my notes and my expectations from the year. It was still under a pandemic’s shadow yet I felt the need for a more concrete plan and goals for the year.

I can categorize my goals into different buckets I have career goals, personal branding goals, financial goals, personal development goals. I will not share my exact goals for the year, but until November 2021 I had 9 goals. In November I added 2 more to the list thinking that I may achieve. All in all, I had 11 goals for 2021 and 5 of them are failed.

Still, I am happy with the outcome. I learned my capacity, shortcomings and development points. Looking at the success fail ratio it may seem otherwise but the successful ones were way over the target. Which let me rediscover my interests and strengths.

Looking forward to 2022

As I said I reviewed my outcome for 2021, and I am happy to see that content creation becomes a habit for me again. I really love to think, write and share my learnings or findings. So I can add some small things into the global knowledge hub, the internet. I have also seen that after a long day at work, I am usually exhausted to create a technical tool or script. Actually, I want to stay away from the keyboard after work some days. Reading and learning is always a great asset for me and I am happy to grab a physical book to read after a long day.

In the light of those discoveries, I decreased my tech creation goals and increased the content creation goals. I also increased my reading and learning goals to the next level. Since I changed my professional path to management, I have lots of new things to learn and there are a lot of good books to read about becoming an engineering manager.

So in 2022, I have 11 goals from start. These goals may evolve, new goals can be added during the year. Categorywise my goals are

  • Career development: 3 goals
  • Personal development: 1 goal
  • Personal brand / content creation: 5 goals
  • Financial: 2 goals

Of course, numbers are just quantitative, qualitative properties of those goals differ e.g. I strongly believe 3 goals of career development is much harder than 5 goals of content creation. Hence numbers above are not meaningful without knowing the goals themselves yet I would like to keep my goals personal.

Thanks for reading so far! If you want to share your goals feel free to comment if you wonder about my goals’ status. Let’s wait for the end of 2022 post 🙂

Remote Work is Different with Pandemic

Before covid started my current and past employees were provided remote days as benefits. Usually, there is a weekly or monthly quota that an employee can work out of the office per week or per month. To be honest, these days were good, staying away from the disturbing effect of an open plane office to do some focus work. Or meet a colleague in a coworking space to work on a shared project.

Then the covid hit, all work shifted from offices to homes, working hours blended into resting hours, social interactions stopped, some were able to stay healthy some unfortunately caught covid. In the end, all our lives changed and I can not say all the change was good.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

First, we lost the human touch, although I strongly believe that our job requires being in the flow and harmed by any disturbance (I love this Monkey User comic btw. to the point.), human beings are still “social creatures”. We can get highly motivated by some small talk, getting updates about a peer’s project, having a coffee chat over the new technology, drinks over a successful project etc. And these were all stayed back in the office, it is a quite low possibility that you bump into a colleague in your home.

Meetups and conferences were stopped. So not only the colleagues but also network touch was lost. Visiting a co-working space became an old memory, the only place to see other people was a supermarket for some time, which was kind of a post-apocalyptic movie scene and it still is.

Then arrived a series of meetings, all the companies I worked for had the same problem: there were never enough meeting rooms. During the pandemic setup, we finally acquired an unlimited number of meeting rooms. There were no limits, all you have to do is create a virtual space and share the link. Also, experts were suggesting to “overcommunicate” to be able to succeed in this new setup. So we created more meetings, we tried to simulate “bumping in the corridor”, we set meetings back-to-back as there was no walking distance from one Google Meet link to another Zoom link. And finally, that caused “Zoom Fatigue” for some of us.

Then the border became blurry between work and rest, I will be honest here some did a good job to keep the boundaries in place. They simulated commuting via some routines like walking around the block before and after work. I personally, tried to track my time and not work overtime also splitter my work environment from the rest of the home by moving my desk into the storage room. Still sometimes when an idea appeared, a notification chimed on mobile I went into “my office” to work some more, or some friends / colleagues did not realize the time and worked more than they anticipated.

Office ergonomics has been lost. Initial reaction to pandemic WFH was quick and mostly unplanned for. Employees were at home working on a dining table, working from the couch, having meetings from the closet as their partner was also in a meeting in the living room. And those places are bad for the health. Some of us got lucky, our companies spent enough resources to let us have a decent setup at home. And I will be honest again, my current company is one of them which provides a good selection of office equipment to us.

And burnout arrived for some, due to the accumulation of all topics above. Unfortunately, some arrived into a burnout state. Again I will talk personally, there had been days where I was not feeling productive and there were days where I was doing a good job. So although I am not a health professional, I suppose I didn’t hit the burnout levels luckily. I do not believe that people who burned out were the weak ones and others are stronger. We, all, have different circumstances and different environments so the effect and reaction differ from person to person of course. I only say I was lucky.

Next steps as far as I can see companies are starting to announce their post-pandemic work models. Some of them already called employees into the offices, some announced they are moving to a fully remote model, and some offer a hybrid work model. In my opinion hybrid model is the one to combine the best and the worst of the other two options. With some days spent in the office, colleagues can regain the human touch and collaboration opportunities, while doing focus work at home. There won’t be a need to redefine the borders between the work and the rest, and the home can be a home again.

What do you think about the future? Do you prefer a 100% remote work or a hybrid one? Share with us in the comments if you like.

Coming Back…

It has been more than 5 years since my last blog post in here.

A few years ago I moved my writing habits into another website, which was Now I decided to come back to my own web site to post my thoughts.

I can not promise about the intervals for new posts, it can be bi-weekly or monthly. But it will be about my personal career growth including but not limited to technical thoughts and demos, learnings about management, book reviews and maybe some whisky tasting notes. (People need their hobbies ☺)

Let’s start slow today and close this “Welcome back home” post. See you in the future posts and feel free to comment and share.

Featured Image Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Project Management


There is a good project management article on the internet. Which takes delivering baby as a Software project and share which role thinks what about the project exactly. I believe it is really close to daily life projects, we have in enterprise companies, where we have an obivous line and knowledge difference between project roles. Here is that article.

Have fun!

  • Project Manager is a person who thinks nine women can deliver a baby in one month.
  • Developer is a person who thinks it will eighteen months to deliver a baby.
  • The Onsite Coordinator is one who thinks single woman can deliver nine babies in one month.
  • The Client is the one who doesn’t know why he wants a baby.
  • Marketing Manager is a person who thinks he can deliver a baby even if no man and woman are available.
  • The Resource Optimization Team thinks they don’t need a man or woman; they’ll produce a child with zero resources.
  • The Documentation Team doesn’t care whether the child is delivered, they’ll just document 9 months.
  • The User Interface Team will design a baby with three arms and one leg and ask if it can be done.
  • The Quality Auditor is the person who is never happy with the process to produce a baby.
  • Tester is a person who always tells his wife that this is not the right baby.